March 13 - Air cargo general sales agent Heavyweight Air Express says the business it handles in the US market for Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is booming.

As exclusive GSA, Heavyweight is tasked with supporting the scheduled freighter operations that Ethiopianmaintains from Liege, as well as the direct Boeing 777 Washington D.C. to Ethiopia passenger flights.

"Both turnover and tonnage have realised steady year over year increases, since the start of our contract in 2006, so naturally we are quite pleased," comments Ian Hutchinson, vice- president for Heavyweight Air Express in the USA.

"The 777 flight from Washington gave us a healthy increase in non-stop uplift so we're working to take full advantage of this."

The company views the Ethiopian cargo product as a double-pronged approach, starting with the online passenger flights offering capacity for known-shipper, lower-deck material and mail. This is complemented by MD-11F and 747Fflights from Liege that provide the heavy lifting for outsized cargo, part-charter loads and unknown shipper commodities. Service on this route is virtually seamless and effected through various freighter interline partners that operate directly to Liege, Heavyweight claims.

"Having Liege as a hub for both our interline partners and Ethiopian is an unbeatable combination," Hutchinson continues. "It allows us to effectively address irregular cargo for almost any type and with extremely good transit times and excellent reliability. This is what our customers are looking for in African cargo service. We continue to invest in our products in close association with our partners. As a result, we have directly employed operational support in both Liege and Addis Ababa."

Hutchinson is quick to emphasise that Ethiopians' reputation as a world-class airline is a strong selling point. Its growing inventory of new-build airplanes combined with regional and long haul freighters offer shippers choices that are often unrivaled. Underscoring this is the carriers' comprehensive African route network that delivers a wide ranging inventory of destinations.

"Everything about this carrier is on the move---and straight up. From the new 777 and 787 passenger planes to the pending 777 freighters, it makes for a product that we're extremely proud of and with fantastic future growth prospects for our US customers."

The Heavyweight Air Express group also represents Ethiopian Airlines in Ireland and UK and provides leading edge air cargo solutions that range from traditional general sales agency services to diversified niche market products including airport-to-door, air chartering, space brokerage and wholesale.